I woke up early so I could head down to the garden before it got too hot. I had already set all of my float-started vegetables in their long rows. The little green plants were standing properly in line. All that I had left to do was plant five rows of sweet corn.

I opened the door to the greenhouse and was greeted by its warm air. I gathered up my bag of seeds, and my tool for the day, an old hand-held seed planter. This simple farm machine is a truly magical device. Two well-worn wooden handles operate the two-board lever. A metal canister, attached to the outside of one board, holds the seeds. When the handles are pushed together, the metal jaws at the bottom of the lever, are open. When the handles are pulled apart, the jaws close and a small channel passes through the bottom of the seed canister, catching two or three seeds that clatter down a shoot to be dropped into the waiting jaws.

I push simply push the planter firmly down, handles apart and jaws closed, into my garden soil, push the handles together, and the two or three seeds that are waiting at the bottom of the planter, are neatly deposited about two inches deep into the soil. When I pull the planter up, I open the
handles, and listen as the next two or three seeds clatter down to the jaws. With the seeds waiting, I move up the row to my next planting.

To make sure that my rows are relatively straight, I lie long boards beside each other, about two feet between them, to mark each line of seeds. When I reach the end of the boards, I pull them forward, to mark my continued line of planting. I then step back over each planted divot, pressing the soil down around the seeds, before I set off again, caught in the rhythm of the clanking handles, the clattering seeds, and occasionally wiping a trickle of sweat from my forehead, as I make my way along the rows.

I simply felt good, humming to myself, and pleased with my progress. This feeling of contentment, working in my garden under a beautiful creek morning sky was the first of my threes.

Then I heard the rumble of two large trucks heading down the creek valley road. I paused my planting and looked up. The trucks were heading down the creek to our neighbor’s farm, and were filled with modern farm planting supplies, seeds and liquid fertilizer. I smiled and waved, and the
drivers waved back. I continued my planting and slowly making my way down my long garden rows. It occurred to me to wonder what the truck drivers may have thought of me and my old corn planter as they passed by.

I was still planting my corn rows when I could hear one of the trucks making its way back up the road. Again, I paused, and looked up. The truck slowed and then stopped. I walked down my row to the road, carrying my planter with me. I did not want to set it down for fear the seeds would
spill out of the canister’s open end.

“Good morning,” he said, as a broad smile spread across his face.

“It is a good morning. Such a beautiful day,” I replied.

He went on, “I just had to let you know, I plant my garden the same way, with a planter just like yours, three quarters of an acre.” His smile then spread into an outright grin. We talked of the device’s ingenuity, and its strength in lasting all these years. We talked of deer and coyote and creek valley life. He drove off with a wave, and with another wave, I returned to the rhythm of my
planting. This was my second of my threes.

Greg had been cutting hay all day with our little red tractor and its sickle bar, and as the sun began to edge toward the top of the valley hill, and with the corn all planted and the hay field all cut, we decided to shower and head out to dinner down by the river. We arrived and the day was beginning to cool, so we asked for an outside table. Dinner was lovely. We were even serenaded by a fellow and his wife, singing and playing acoustic guitar.

Just as we were gathering ourselves to leave, a group walked in and sat at a table close to the musicians. They obviously knew the duo, and had apparently traveled some distance just to be there and enjoy the music. I sat back down in my seat. “Greg, I know one of those ladies! She is a dear friend from high school!”

I approached, and as soon as she saw me, she jumped up out of her seat, and we embraced in a long hug, only pulling back to look in each other’s eyes. Her voice was the same. I so remembered the softly beautiful southern lilt of her words. We had not seen each other since 1972, but by the
strength of our hug, we both knew we were long friends.

She introduced me to her group, and I introduced her to Greg, and in time, just as Greg and I were leaving, we held each other tight, in another long hug. Yes, without any doubt, this was the third, and perhaps most special, thing of three.

What a special day it really was, just simply to be me.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.